Pheu Thai unveils alliance set to form post-election coalition
Pheu Thai party, which has apparently won the most MP seats from last Sunday’s general election, has unveiled an alliance which it claims will form the next coalition government.
The Pheu Thai-led alliance includes Future Forward and five other smaller parties and which claims to have gathered altogether more than 255 seats to be able to form a majority government. The alliance, which described itself as “the pro-democracy camp,” was announced at a press conference this morning.
Pheu Thai’s chief strategist and prime minister candidate Sudarat Keyuraphan said the seven parties have made a firm commitment to form a coalition “to put an end to the power of NCPO.”
The alliance, however, has yet to decide whom it will nominate as prime minister.
Also present at the press conference were Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of Future Forward, Pol Gen Seripisuth Temiyavej, leader of Seri Ruamthai, Wan Noor Matha, leader of Prachachart, Songkram Kitlertpairoj, leader of Pheu Chart, Nikom Boonviset, leader of Palang Puangchonthai.
Mingkwan Saengsuwan, leader of the New Economy party, was not present at the press conference. But Phumtham Vechayachai, secretary general of Pheu Thai, said Mingkwan has reiterated his stand against the military junta and has joined the alliance. There were earlier reports that Mingkwan was being courted by Palang Pracharat party which is trying to form a rival coalition government.
Phumtham also read out a joint statement committing the seven parties to form a coalition. The statement was later signed in front of the media by leaders of the six parties.
The press conference is seen as an attempt by the Pheu Thai-led camp to pre-empt attempts by pro-Gen Prayut Palang Pracharat to form a rival coalition. Sudarat insisted since Pheu Thai has won the most seats, it should be given the prerogative to set up a government.
But conspicuously absent at the press conference, which was delayed by about 45 minutes, was Bhumjaithai, the mid-sized party which is being seen as a “king-maker” in the formation of the post-election coalition.
Sources in Pheu Thai had earlier suggested that it had successfully courted Bhumjaithai leader Anutin Charnvirakul to be on board by offering him the post of prime minister of the coalition.
Phumtham, however, strongly denied the report. “We have never offered Khun Anutin the premiership,” he said, adding that members of the Pheu Thai-led alliance will decide later on whom they will nominate as prime minister.
The alliance also lashed out at the Election Commission for the slow vote counting which they said raised questions about its credibility and neutrality.
Sudarat said that after the press conference representatives of the alliance would go to the headquarters of the Election Commission to call for transparency in the vote counting process.